Saturday, June 26, 2010

Car to what?

This blog about a new electric bike set me thinking on the current nature on electric vehicles. Like it happens, in most technology transitions, the initial effort and ideation is towards making it seem as close to current as possible, so that the change is not painful. Thus, most effort is focussed on making the electric vehicle look and feel like a conventional car. There are some exceptions like the Aptera, but other than that, the whole effort is like making digital cameras look alike analog ones. (including articificial sound - and thats a thought for electric cars too)

But what might very well happen could be something different. Our definition of personal mobility in huge units designed for 5 -10 people and usually carrying 1 or 2 needs to be questioned and redefined. Do we really need to travel in huge cars? Do we really need to commute at all? Cant we rent a nice big car (in India) when we want to travel long distances and use a smaller EV for the city commutes? Cant we go where we want to by bicycle, park it (or carry it) hop onto public transport to another place and use it? How about a hybrid e-bike that charges as we pedal and then lets us use e-power while we regain our energy making it easier to travel longer distances? And then there will be others challenge our thinking along these lines.

Perhaps, it will be a cool e-bike that we could use for our usual transportation in the future? The combination of a lesser need to commute combined with clean vehicles has the potential to change our entire transportation paradigm...

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